More spaceship flying shenanigans today – this time, it’s from Sega’s doomed-to-fail 32-bit add-on for the Megadrive, the 32X. I loved the 32X because it highlighted how companies should NEVER give consumers too much choice; people couldn’t work out whether it was a different console in its own right, or a poor man’s Saturn that would be immediately obselete (it didn’t matter in the end; both the 32X and Saturn failed miserably). Anyway, the 32X was simply a huge 3D processor for Megadrive games, but the smattering of titles released rarely took advantage of this fact. I mean, how does NBA Jam get better between a 16-bit and 32-bit version? It doesn’t – it’s still using bloody sprites.
One game that DID use the 32X for what it was designed for was Shadow Squadron. It’s a free-roaming space shooter that moves like greased weasel shit, is tough, BUT also very very entertaining. You face-off against a dozen space fighters and a few capital ships, sometimes with some interesting set-pieces (a big lattice space station for example) and a couple of different weapons. You can opt for the one-player fighter or the two-player Y-Wing-alike gunship (which is a bold assumption by the developers, considering gaming was still nerd country in ’95).
Play time = 20 minutes
Verdict = It’s great! Clean graphics, fast gameplay – a bit like an arcade version of X-Wing.